How parents can save money on half term activities

How parents can save money on half term activities

How parents can save money on half term activities

Half term is creeping closer and even though this is a much shorter school holiday, many parents are finding the week to be an expensive time. If parents have no chance of taking time off from work, they may need to look into childcare, out of school activities, or activity clubs for their children to attend.

School holidays can be a great chance for students to challenge themselves with new activities. Granting permission for children to attend holiday schemes or activity clubs, will allow them to engage in conversations with new people and take part developing new skills or planning events. The part that can be difficult though is the cost.

Working parents can use childcare vouchers to help pay for such activities. Although the majority of parents use childcare vouchers to pay for registered childcare for pre-school children, such as nurseries, nannies, au pairs or child-minders, the vouchers can also be used for older children to pay for things like out of school clubs and activity camps. Parents should always check before booking that the provider accepts payment with childcare vouchers.

How can parents access childcare vouchers and how do they work?

1. Childcare vouchers are available to working parents via their employer. Childcare vouchers are a benefit, not a right, and so parents must ask their employer to provide them. The scheme will not be a cost to the employer and could save them around £400 per year per employee on the scheme.

2. If the employer agrees to provide childcare vouchers, parents simply register to the scheme, telling their employer how much they would like to deduct from their wages each week or month in return for the vouchers.

3. Parents can currently exchange up to £243* per month.

4. The amount exchanged for vouchers is deducted from the employee’s wages and no tax and National Insurance is taken. Parents then pay their childcare provider with the vouchers. Through taking childcare vouchers, parents can save up to £933* per year on the cost of their childcare.

5. Childcare vouchers can be used to pay any registered childcare provider for children up to the age of 16.

Can parents save more?

Busy Bees Benefits is campaigning to raise the weekly childcare voucher allowance from £55 to £75 per week to help parents save more on the cost of their childcare. Raising the cap will increase savings per parent to over £1200 per year. If you want to save more, sign the e-petition to help persuade the government to increase the cap. The e-petition currently has over 17,000 signatures and closes on 21st March 2013.

For more information about how you can start saving using Childcare Vouchers visit www.busybeesbenefits.com or the HMRC website.

 

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